A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation starring June Whitfield as Miss Marple. Recuperating from a flying accident, Jerry Burton needs to take a break somewhere peaceful. He and his sister rent a house in the little village of Lymstock, where they know no-one and hope to be able to relax.
Their quiet life is shattered, however, by the arrival of an obscene anonymous letter accusing them of impropriety. Jerry refuses to take it seriously and throws it on the fire. But he soon discovers that theirs is by no means the first unpleasant missive: a number of other village residents have been similarly harassed. Suspicion is rife, and matters are brought to a head by the suicide of one of the letters' recipients.
With the whole village in a state of shock, the vicar's wife decides to invite down an old friend with considerable experience of the darker side of human nature. Can Miss Marple's arrival in Lymstock cast light on events? And can she discover the culprit before more deaths occur?
©1942 Agatha Christie Ltd (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
The BBC radio full-cast adaptations are like old-time radio plays and each listen brings some new moment to enjoy.
Of course the revelation of "whodunnit" is always fun.
Miss Whitfield makes a wonderful Miss Marple. Just the right combination of shrewd judgement and elderly fussiness.
June Whitfield has done a very good job of voicing Miss Marple each time she's done it, and the BBC is quite reliable for putting together good casts, good scripts, and overall good performances. I like these radio play adaptations of Agatha Christie because they're a little safer for listening to while driving, in my opinion, than audio books would be -- I say this because with the plays, you don't have to pay as close of attention to every word in order to follow the story, thus enabling you to remain a good, attentive driver. They're nice for airports, too, because you can usually fit one or two right into the average layover. Nothing too deep to weary the mind; just a fun little mystery.
In this instance, I felt like the BBC trimmed out a few too many of the details, which made the solution and the story itself far less interesting (and also made things less clear than they were in the book). For instance, Joanna's entire storyline was pretty much removed. Those secondary storylines are, in my opinion, part of what makes a Christie novel so enjoyable to readers. So, the story does suffer when you remove them, even though they may not directly advance the main plot. If you are a Miss Marple fan than this might not be the book for you -- her part in this story is very "deus ex machina"-esque, although the BBC manages to insert her a bit more in the radio drama than she appears in the book (in the book, she doesn't really show up prominently until the last fourth or so).
Most of the cast did quite well, although I really didn't like how they interpreted Megan -- she's kind of a space cadet in the novel, but in this radio play she's so irritating that I could scarcely stand her voice! I kept wishing I could step in and rewrite the script to have her killed off!
Overall opinion: This is not one of the best Christie adaptations put out by the BBC, but if you are already a fan of the novels, you'll still probably enjoy it. I would buy many of the others before this one, however.
"The Moving Finger"
The Moving Finger is typical Miss Marple. Very entertaining with all the usual red herrings and twists and turns. I especially enjoyed the dramatised element of this audio book.
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